Citizens Advice Network across Scotland are seeking to launch a telephone system using local capacity to respond to the national changed circumstances in a collective manner, given the safe or practical considerations of current COVID-19 circumstances. We want to continue to offer our long-standing quality service to citizens and vulnerable communities. We are currently enabling the setup of a service with national coverage through remote working advisers and volunteers working from home providing the same quality specific and generalist advice over the phone and other channels of delivery. Therefore, it there was an opportunity for provision of laptops and headsets that could further enable this local response to a national issue this would be very welcome in providing additional resilience and flexibility to this new fledgling service.
However, we know that this telephony service will face significant demand once launched and we would like to set up a conversational service such as WhatsApp For Business to act as a sieve which can resolve the needs of certain section of citizens that need signposting to specific pages or advice.
We are also looking at being more directional to specific pieces of advice on our Twitter and Facebook sites. However, there is still a gap between people self-solving through searching our online advice and a more directional approach through a human interaction through tech to direct people suffering understandable stress to key sources of information where there is a little bit of interaction needed with the client but they need signposting and our advisers need support with navigating a new way of delivering this advice e.g. WhatsApp.
There will be a continuing need for more complex cases to be referred for a telephony discussions with advisers but if using App platforms such as WhatsApp for Business https://www.whatsapp.com/business/api or other methods/tech platforms were we can upstream the resolution of the clients situation in a more efficient manner but still personal manner and protect the initial telephony service from any greater wave of demand than necessary and help people have their information needs resolved in the best way for them and in a conversational/inclusive manner in keeping with our founding principles of independent, impartial and free face to face advice.
We would welcome discussions with ScotlandIS members who have experience in providing multi-channel communication platform services, to enable smart and efficient conversations with a customer base such as WhatsApp or other similar plaform.
Please contact George Eckton, Director of Advice Services